How to put a tiny wildlife pond in your outside space

By | February 25, 2018

Water, however tiny the pond, brings life and interest to balconies, patios and small gardens. It’s restful, attracts wildlife like birds, dragonflies and frogs, and gives you an opportunity to grow different plants. Creating a small pond in a container is very easy and it will immediately start to play a part in ‘wildlife corridors’ between gardens. These link up wildlife-friendly features so creatures can find the best places to live.

Safety first, of course. Be very cautious about introducing a pond if you’ve got small children as it only takes a few inches of water to drown.

Choose a container

Anything watertight, frost-proof and clean will do. You could use a bucket, an old washing up bowl, a tin bath, a baby bath, a half-barrel – you get the idea.

Use silicone sealant to close up any holes and make it watertight.

Choose the location

For a small pond, dappled sunlight or even shade is the best location. That’s because the small amount of water can heat up and start evaporating quite quickly. Neither of these do wildlife or plants any good!

Patio garden pond

Patio garden pond. © Sue Lowndes and reused under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Putting the container into the ground would be even better as this helps to regulate water temperature and makes it easier for wildlife to get in and out of the pond.

What to put in your pond

First of all, put stones or bricks inside to provide different levels for plants and offer creatures a way to get in and out.

Fill the container with rainwater rather than tap water, for preference. Top up from water butts.

You’ll need oxygenating plants to keep the water clear and sweet. You can buy a small bundle of these with little weights attached and just throw it into the water. Watercress is a good oxygenator, too, so if you buy some to eat and see it has a few roots attached it could go in too. Probably not a good idea to harvest it from your pond though!

Plants with tall, vertical leaves such as iris or equisetum (horse tails) are good. These allow larvae to climb out of the water when they are ready to turn into beautiful flying insects such as dragonflies and damselflies.

Male beautiful demoiselle damselfly (Calopteryx virgo). Pond

Male beautiful demoiselle damselfly (Calopteryx virgo). © Michael Apel and reused under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

Put different levels of pots around the pond to help wildlife in and out, and more plants around it to give them somewhere to hide as they come and go from the water.

Have a look at these two Gardeners’ World pages for more suggestions for plants: mini pond in a bucket and how to make a mini pond.

Now sit back and wait for your local wildlife to arrive!